Nathan’s story of self-harm*
Nathan was a nine-year-old boy who was struggling in school because he’d become aggressive towards both adults and children, lost his friends and needed to be managed outside the classroom. Nathan was referred to Blue Smile to see if therapy might help with his anger and distress.
In his first therapy sessions, Nathan chose an ‘attacker monster’ toy, which each week would ‘crash into’ and destroy smaller creatures. One day, Nathan came to a session with a large bruise on his forehead and it became clear to Nathan’s therapist that he’d been hitting his head against his bedroom wall “to crash the bad monsters out of my head”. Following a meeting with Nathan’s mother, she revealed that he’d witnessed a violent fight around the same time that his father left. Nathan seemed to feel that fights needed to be won or people would disappear from his life.
Slowly, Nathan’s once angry monster turned into a friendly monster, and, in school, he learned to control his temper and made a new group of friends. He even went to his first sleepover, taking his ‘friendly monster’ with him.